Manchester Innocence Project

BBC reporter Nick Wallis to deliver talk about Horizon Post Office scandal

  • Broadcast journalist Nick Wallis to give talk about Post Office scandal at Manchester University
  • Ongoing enquiry to investigate the scandal due to last until the end of year
  • Government sets aside £1bn to compensate Post Office victims  

Victims of the Horizon scandal are to speak about the scandalous treatment the received which led to jail terms for some and sub-postmasters losing their livelihoods.

BBC journalist Nick Wallis, who broke the story, will be joined by two Post Office branch managers affected by the discredited Horizon accounting system.  

In 1999 the post office introduced a computer accounting system called Horizon to take care of back-office accounting and front-end sales. 

By 2013 the system was being used by at least 11,500 branches and processing around six million transactions each day.

A flaw in Horizon’s accounting system meant it recorded a shortfall in income when the communication between a post offices’ daily transactions and the post office bank account failed. 

Thousands of pounds were wrongly recorded as missing from Post Office accounts, leaving sub-postmasters forced to pay the shortfall.

A public inquiry on the scandal began this week and is expected to run for the rest of 2022, examining whether the Post Office knew about the faults in the IT system and how staff were left to shoulder the blame and the financial burden. 

It will also look into whether staff at Fujitsu, who developed the Horizon software to complete tasks, knew about the faults in the system used to convict sub-postmasters. 

Sentences quashed

Over 13 years, more than 700 people were falsely accused of theft and prosecuted because of computing errors. 

By 2013 the Post Office knew it had an IT system that wasn’t fit for purpose and had potentially unsafe prosecutions on its hands but still did not come clean, claim campaigners

The scandal resulted in a high court case in 2019 leading to victims having their sentences quashed.  As a result, the government was forced to set aside £1bn in compensation funds for victims.

The talk, organised by Manchester Innocence Project, takes place tomorrow night at Manchester University. Nick Wallis’ book, The Great Post Office Scandal, takes an in-depth look at the issue. Tickets are free, and the event starts at 4pm.